Coney Island

Two Brooklyn men freed after two decades in prison on wrongful conviction

February 7, 2014 By Charisma L. Miller, Esq. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Two men wrongly convicted for a triple murder have been freed after spending more than two decades in prison. Anthony Yarbough and Sharrif Wilson were released Thursday after a Brooklyn judge overturned their convictions based on new DNA evidence. They were accused of killing Yarbough’s mother, Annie, his 12-year-old sister and another girl in 1992.

The victims were found strangled in their Coney Island home, which authorities said was a crack den.

Convicted of the murders in 1992, DNA evidence under the fingernails of one victim was found on another dead body, killed in 1999. It was clear to the defense, prosecution and the judge that the DNA evidence discovered in a 1999 murder was evidence that the same person who committed the crimes in 1992 killed again in 1999.

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With Yarbough and Wilson in prison in 1999, it would be improbable that the two were guilty.

Prosecutors said it would be unjust to try them again, and Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Raymond Guzman concurred.

“In this case, my office examined newly discovered scientific evidence that was not available at the time of the trial,” Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said in a statement. “Based on this new evidence, I believe a jury would have been more likely to return a different verdict,” Thompson’s statement continued.

This is the first release of a wrongly convicted inmate for Thompson, who took office last month, but not the first for Brooklyn. In the past year, at least three individuals have been released from prison after spending decades in prison. This surge of wrongful convictions caused former Brooklyn DA Charles J. Hynes to create the Conviction Integrity Unit to look into 50 cases with suspected issues regarding the arrest and conviction of defendants.   Yarbough and Wilson’s case does not appear to be a part of those 50 cases.

It is unclear if Yarbough and or Wilson will file civil suit against the city for wrongful imprisonment and wrongful conviction and seek monetary damages.

—Charisma L. Miller, Esq., contributing

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